celebrations, family

Whirlwind Weekend

My youngest daughter joined a college club lacrosse team. One of the fun parts of this is travel. First up: an away play day in Nashville that just so happened to be my birthday weekend. That was an easy sell!

It was harder to find a traveling companion. Close family and favorite travel buddies couldn’t make it for one reason or another. I was kinda pouty until just a few days before, when the daughter I was going to watch figured out she could stay with me. We traveled to Nashville separately, but after her games we were able to spend the rest of the weekend together.

It was a whirlwind weekend of packed with fun. I had most of it mapped out before we met up. I started with morning coffee at Dutch Brothers, a perennial fave. Longtime readers know that I love to visit local coffee shops on my travels, but Dutch would be an exception. It’s a national chain, yes, but there isn’t one anywhere near my hometown. I can’t resist their positive energy or their soft top!

Then I found my way to one of the Five Daughters Bakery locations, which happened to be tucked in to a cute local marketplace. Most of the shops were closed at that early hour, but there were still some fun murals and photo opps. A handful of their hundred-layer doughnuts and I was off to the next destination.

After that, a super quick visit to Cheekwood to catch a glimpse of their fall pumpkin festival displays. I was the first one through the gates that morning, and more than likely the first to leave in time to make the start of the lacrosse games. Still, it was soothing and smile-inducing to see the beautiful plants and festive surroundings. I’m sure I could have spent a whole day there, but even just that small sliver of time made me feel lighter and carefree as I welcomed my favorite season of the year.

After lacrosse, we made a quick visit to a Nashville food hall with a close family friend. It had live music and a wide variety of local eateries – something to please everyone. Then we spent Saturday night on a “touristy” thing by visiting the Grand Old Opry. Pretty classic Nashville, but my daughter had never been. It was a great variety show, even if we hadn’t really heard of any of the acts. Wonderful entertainment. (An evening at the Bluebird Cafe is still on my Nashville wish list! Didn’t get tickets this time but I’ll keep trying.)

After the show, we drove about an hour to Cookeville. This brought us close to the next morning’s adventure, a kayak to Burgess Falls. The paddle was low key and not too technical, but it was pretty long. The scenery was pretty and then it was a short hike to the falls since the river waters recede a bit in the autumn months. The bottom of the falls are only reachable by kayak or hike, which made the view all the more sweet.

Time with my youngest becomes more precious each year as she moves through college. Long car rides leave time for us to chat and catch up. We talked this time about how, as time goes on, we’ve learned that we would rather have fewer things and more experiences together.

Just like my older daughter, I can hear that her dreams will take her to live in faraway places in the coming years. This makes these experiences and memories all the more sweet. Time and attention (and shared adventures!) are the best gifts we can give one another.

celebrations, dare to be different

What a Drag Brunch

I recently got invited to attend a Drag Brunch. I couldn’t resist going. I just had to see what it was all about. What to wear was my first question. I couldn’t wait to add this adventure to my “new to me” activities for this year. Off I went with friends. No expectations just prepared for what might be.

Upon arrival there were colorful boas on each table. Great for a quick photo opportunity and some giggles. The feathery accent piece got old real quick for me. It was itchy and left stray feathers all over me. Off that went. Food and mimosas came out while you socialized and listened to music. I’d call this the kill time phase while the queens got into costume.

This was the Drag Queen who managed the show. Her name was Cake. Her introduction says what’s a party without cake? No party is a party without cake. Clever. Funny. Applicable. Cake rolled in at 6 foot four and this Queen left her mark on the audience. From big hair to her fan snapping movement. She even broke a nail in her first act and had to have it reapplied because it’s a much needed accessory.

This queen was a jumping diva. She jumped off chairs and flipped in the air. The pure acrobatics and energy were nothing short of amazing. The hair flips even seemed to match her choreography. The details the divas displayed.

The costumes were very intricate and went with the personalities of the performers. Real showmanship was viewed on this day. I could see such a sense of pride in all they did. It was funny to hear many had real day jobs and this was a weekend gig. Made me think about who is behind the makeup and costumes.

Another fun experience for my record book. Many more to come but I do enjoy sharing this experiences on the blog in case others want to venture off to try something new or for those who won’t they at least get a glimpse from my lens.

Have an amazing week. Be the queen that you are. Embrace your inner diva. This statement may sound sexist but since a drag queen is well a drag queen I’m applying this statement to all genders.

challenges, perspective

A Life Cut Short

Recently, someone in my daughter’s close friend group experienced a great loss. A tragic accident. A death, completely unexpected. Not his fault. A shock out of the blue.

I had met this young man a couple of times. I have photos of him, since he was in the group for my daughter’s high school dances. I had been introduced to him once. Still, such a sudden loss makes every parent in the community shudder.

My kids laugh at them when I tell them to be safe. Don’t drink (and if you do, don’t drive). Don’t do drugs. Stay alert. Make good choices. Check in when you get there. Leave early. Slow down. Assume everyone else is drunk or not paying attention. This young man probably followed every single one of these rules and still, he is gone.

In most cases, you may not know the last words you’ll say to a person. A loved one. A friend. Every time they leave you, every time you hang up, every time you text it could be the last time. Stop and think of the people who mean the most to you. How have you left it with them? Yes, right now. Today. Sure, saying “I love you” to a friend all the time may seem foolish. Maybe you just aren’t that way. But how can you leave things so that you’d be content with those being your last words with them? Think about it. Do they know how you feel? Do they know what they mean to you?

Memento Mori. One of the tenets of stoicism. Remember your death. To some this might seem morbid. Too heavy. Honestly, it is useful for me. It means pay attention to what matters. Keep your shit in order. Don’t drown in the trifling details. Don’t waste time on petty arguments or people who are just not meant for you. Invest in what is meaningful. All you have is now. Don’t waste it.

I watched the beautiful slide show for this 20 year old young man. I saw his smiles. His family vacations. Trips to the university his family loved. The dinners with friends. The light in his eyes when he looked at my daughter’s friend. I wept for him and what everyone who loved him lost. All the dreams that would go unfulfilled. The awful anniversaries that would come over and over and over again. I wept for the life cut short.

Do the important things now. Make a list. Start checking it off. Do them with the people who matter to you. Time is ticking and we don’t get it back. Not fun to think about. But let that motivate you to embrace life NOW. Not next year. Not when you have more time. NOW. Live big. Love well. Embrace life.

Now.

perspective

If a Tree Falls…

You surely know the only puzzler: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

What do you think? These are the kinds of questions that philosophers can sit around and ponder, quander, or some might say squander our time over.

I was thinking recently about the things I do alone. Most are more or less by choice. Many times I’d rather have companions along for the ride. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

Individualist is strong in my enneagram. I am prone to do things by myself. Sometimes to a fault. Once in a while, though, it gets to me.

Take for example my recent triathlon experience. I was originally scheduled to do this with a few different people. For one reason or another, each of these people were unable to do it that weekend. I had a choice…go it alone or wait until another chance to do an event like this came along.

I was on the fence about it for a while. I really didn’t want to go do it by myself, but I also didn’t want to miss out on my chance to do it. I’m getting to the point with many things in my life where I say, if not now, who knows when the opportunity will come around again?

I ended up doing it and after I completed it I was glad that I did. Still, the experience would have been more fun to share with a friend. To ask if they had seen the turtle on the bike course and felt the same kinship with that slow moving animal. Did you smell the water treatment plant too? Yuck! How was the run for you? How was the swim? Did you do the water slide at the end? I might have been able to take some pics of them.

I do see the value in going it alone, but there is also beauty in shared stories, shared memories, shared moments. Both have value. Neither can be replaced.

After the race I knew I needed coffee. As is my habit, I looked on yelp and found a local coffee shop a couple of blocks away. Completely by surprise, I passed a mural by a well-known artist. I stopped to take a selfie with it, but of course could not fit in the amazing piece at arm’s length. Luckily a nice young man saw me. A military person from the nearby base. He called out and asked if he could take my picture for me. He said it was just so sad to see me trying to get a photo of myself alone. And he was right.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? If you do something amazing and no one was there to share it with you, does it make a memory?

I’m grateful for the man who saw my struggle and helped capture me with my new set of wings. Hopefully next time some loved ones will also be there to share in it and we can lift each other up.

3Splitz Farm

The Barn Door

There is so much beauty in observing something via a new lens. A new perspective on the same place, task, situation and so on. An outsider looking in. Such an opportunity to learn through observation.

Today I got to view a piece of property I own from a new lens. A stranger’s view gave me a new appreciation of what I look at often. Same coordinates but different appearance. A cracked barn door is all it took. Below is just one of the pictures that inspired me.

A different angle. A little misty fog. A different elevation. An artistic view. A fresh look. I was swept away by its beauty and mystery. How can the same place look so different while being the exact same?

We all have a unique vision of life, land, people and tasks. One’s trash can be another’s treasure. One’s obstacles can be another’s perfect play place. I’m a curious person. A constant observer. A life learner. I enjoy seeing the lens of others. It keeps me sane, motivated and engaged.

Today I looked at a lens on land as a reflection of life. The slightly cracked door opened to many possibilities. The fog was so representative of today’s masked world. The fog of 2020. My reflection of how I can paint my picture one way yet theirs may look much different. My barn picture is very peaceful but also thought provoking.  

When coaching others I am using my lens to give my perspective. Often the outsider looking in. Normally I don’t get to see the beauty of another lens. I’m normally bogged down with sorting out chaos. Today I saw beauty through the barn door. Now it’s my chance to seize opportunities through the fog. 

I appreciated every bit of the beauty. The learning experience. The smiles and the journey of others which inadvertently becomes part of my journey.

Life full circle. When you are in a creative space that allows you to observe, you can move mountains or obstacles in life with ease.

Find yourself that barn door to refresh your outlook. Better yet, you can use mine. 3Splitz Farm is a magical place in the north Georgia mountains offering many breathtaking views. Check it out for yourself.